Hombre

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Overview

John Russell has been raised as an Apache. Now he's on his way to live as a white man. But when the stagecoach passengers learn who he is, they want nothing to do with him — until outlaws ride down on them and they must rely on Russell's guns and his ability to lead them out of the desert. He can't ride with them, but they must walk with him or die.
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Overview

John Russell has been raised as an Apache. Now he's on his way to live as a white man. But when the stagecoach passengers learn who he is, they want nothing to do with him — until outlaws ride down on them and they must rely on Russell's guns and his ability to lead them out of the desert. He can't ride with them, but they must walk with him or die.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380822249
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey’s Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie BrownJustified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story “Fire in the Hole”. He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the ‘Dickens of Detroit’ and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.

Biography

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Be Cool, Get Shorty and Rum Punch. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Elmore John Leonard Jr.
      Elmore Leonard
    2. Hometown:
      Bloomfield Village, Michigan
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 11, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Orleans, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Here is where I think it begins -- with Mr. Henry Mendez, the Hatch & Hodges Division Manager at Sweetmary and still my boss at the time, asking me to ride the sixteen miles down to Delgado's with him in the mud wagon. I suspected the trip had to do with the company shutting down this section of the stage fine; Mr. Mendez would see Delgado about closing his station and take an inventory of company property. But that was only part of the reason.

It turned out I was the one had to take the inventory. Mr. Mendez had something else on his mind. As soon as we got to the station, he sent one of Delgado's boys out to John Russell's place to get him.

Until that day John Russell was just a name I had written in the Division account book a few times during the past year. So many dollars paid to John Russell for so many stage horses. He was a mustanger. He would chase down green horses and harness-break them; then Mr. Mendez would buy what he wanted, and Russell and two White Mountain Apaches who rode for him would deliver the horses to Delgado's or one of the other relay stations on the way south to Benson.

Mr. Mendez had bought maybe twenty-five or thirty from him during the past year. Now, I suspected, he wanted to tell Russell not to bring in any more since we were shutting down. I asked Mr. Mendez if that was so. He said no, he had already done that. This was about something else.

Like it was a secret. That was the trouble with Mr. Mendez when I worked for him. From a distance you could never tell he was Mexican. He never dressed like one,everything white like their clothes were made out of bedsheets. He didn't usually act like one. Except that his face, with those tobacco-stained looking eyes and drooping mustache, was always the same and you never knew what he was thinking. When he looked at you, it was like he knew something he wasn't telling, or was laughing at you, no matter what it was he said. That's when you could tell Henry Mendez was Mexican. He wasn't old. Not fifty anyway.

Delgado's boy got back while we were having some coffee and said Russell would be here. A little while later we heard horses, so we went outside.

As we stood there seeing these three riders coming toward the adobe with the dust rising behind them, Mr. Mendez said to me, "Take a good look at Russell. You will never see another one like him as long as you live."

I will swear to the truth of that right now. Though it was not just his appearance.

The three riders came on, but giving the feeling that they were holding back some, not anxious to ride right up until they made sure everything was keno.When Russell pulled up, the two White Mountain Apaches with him slowed to a walk and came up on either side of him. Not close, out a ways, as if giving themselves room to move around in. All three of them were armed; I mean armed, with revolvers, with cartridge belts over their shoulder and carbines, which looked like Springfields at first.

As he sat there, that's when I got my first real look at John Russell.

Picture the belt down across his chest with the sun glinting on the bullets that filled most of the loops. Picture a stained, dirty looking straight-brim hat worn almost Indian-fashion, that is, uncreased and not cocked to either side, except his brim was curled some and there was a little dent down the crown.

Picture his face half shadowed by the hat. First you just saw how dark it was. Dark as his arms with the sleeves rolled above his elbows. Dark -- I swear -- as the faces of the two White Mountain boys. Then you saw how long his hair was, almost covering his ears, and how clean-shaved looking his face was. Right then you suspected he was more to those Apaches than a friend or a boss. I mean he could be a blood relation, no matter what his name was, and nobody in the world would bet he wasn't.

When Mr. Mendez spoke to him you believed it all the more. He stepped closer to John Russell's roan horse, and I remember the first thing he said.

He said, "Hombre."

Russell didn't say anything. He just looked at Mr. Mendez, though you couldn't see his eyes in the shadow of his hat brim.

"Which name today?" Mr. Mendez said. "Which do you want?"

Russell answered Mr. Mendez in Spanish then, just a few words, and Mr. Mendez said, in English, "We use John Russell. No symbol names. No Apache names. All right?" When Russell just nodded, Mr. Mendez said, "I was wondering what you decided. You saidyou would come to Sweetmary in two days."

Russell used Spanish again, more this time, evidently explaining something.

"Maybe it would look different to you if you thought about it in English," Mr. Mendez said and watched him closely. "Or if you spoke about it now in English."

"It's the same," Russell said, all of a sudden in English. In good English that had only a speck of accent, just a faint edge that you would wonder every time you heard him if it really was some kind of accent.

"But it's a big something to think about," Mr. Mendez said. "Going to Contention. Going there to live among white men. To live as a white man on land a white man has given you. To have to speak English to people no matter what language you think in."

"There it is," Russell said. "I'm still thinking all..."

Hombre. Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    A great story

    At about 95 pages I wouldn't call this a long story, but it doesn't read like a short story either. Instead I'd call it just right. The story was told through to completion at just the number of pages that were needed to tell it, at least that is my take. 4.5 stars.

    I really wish more classic westerns were available for the nook.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Not too short

    You will never forget John Russel! The fact that your time
    with him was so short adds to his stature and mistique .
    I got this book to straiten out one discrepency ln an
    otherwise perfect movie of the same name . I like the genre
    in film but had never made the plunge in lit . The book was
    different with some of the characters but at least as compelling . I saw Russel a little differently physically .
    He was younger in this but far beyond his years . I love this
    story !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Loved It

    This is the first Elmore Leonard western I've read. I'm a big fan of his other work, but I think I enjoy his westerns more. Outstanding scenarios, crisp dialogue and the code of the west - just super bad (meaning very good). Only complaint is that this one's too short. I could have spent another 100+ pages with John Russel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Recommended easy read if you like the old west

    Fells like you are there when you read the book. The discussion about Indians and the relationship with the whites during the indian war days and the reservation is the back drop to the story that makes it better than your average western story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2013

    Very good writing

    Enjoyed the story immensely, but I like happy endings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    good, good read

    It's Elmore Leonard, what else is necessary to say. His characters are so well drawn, so real. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    X

    Gjhgjtjrkkytl

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2008

    This one made me an Elmore Leonard fan.

    I read Hombre in three days. I just couldn't put the book down. The story is written in a first person format, so you feel like you're looking over the writer's shoulder during the story. I have the same complaint as the previous reviewer: It was unfortunately just too quick a read. I was really disappointed when I reached the last page.

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted June 16, 2010

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